Morocco's Master Musicians of Jajouka and Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy stand out amid a decent week's worth of international releases, with the rhythms of reggae and Latin music also in the air as summer winds to a close.
Italian workers' collective Spaccanapoli sing and play political tarantellas on their Real World debut, Lost Souls, which contains such prevarications as "Pummaroa Black" (RealAudio excerpt). Countryman Luis Bacalov, whose score for the film "Il Postino" won an Academy Award, releases The Definitive Edition (Intermezzo Media). And UFF, from Venezuela, hope to demonstrate the boy band phenomenon isn't limited to the United States or Britain with Ya Lo (Ves).
The trance music of the Master Musicians of Jajouka, from Morocco's isolated Rif Mountains, was first heard abroad when Rolling Stones member Brian Jones recorded them in the 1960s. They’ve since worked with producers such as Bill Laswell. Master Musicians of Jajouka (Point) teams them with Anglo-Indian percussionist and producer Talvin Singh of Asian Underground fame, who adds his mark to such tracks as "Searching for Passion" (RealAudio excerpt).
Ramzy, perhaps best known for his work on Page and Plant's Unledded tour, offers more of his Egyptian percussion and orchestral work on El Amar (Arc).
Reggae toaster (i.e., rapper) Dennis Alcapone’s 1970s work is anthologized on the finely titled My Voice Is Insured For Half a Million Dollars (Trojan), while the hits of Chaka Demus and Pliers, remembered for "Murder She Wrote," are collected on Gold (Jetstar). The same label also looks back on dancehall star Beenie Man's early work on the similarly titled Gold, and offers collections of the same name by reggae roots star Capleton and the late Garnett Silk, a singer many once reckoned to be Bob Marley's musical heir because of his conscious and spiritual lyrical messages. Yami Bolo, who himself boasts a Jah-centered dancehall style, releases Wonders and Signs (TP).
Across the Caribbean, Mexican singer Pepe Aguilar picks among his five albums for Los Grande de los Grande, and Banda R 15 offer their Mexican take on the ballady bolero style with Unika y Autentika (EMI International). Veteran cumbia masters Mister Chivo, who have been recording for more than two decades, release Cumbiambaito (Lago Entertainment), while revered singer and poet Joan Manuel Serrat, with 40 years of albums under his belt, releases Dedicado a Antonio Machado Poe, Mediterraneo and Cancion Infantil (all RCA International). Latin popster Ned Nelson collects more of his hits on Antologia Vol. 2 (EMI International).
Celebrated Indian violinist L. Subramaniam, whose work impetuously crosses stylistic and geographical borders, releases the live Subramaniam in Moscow (Boheme).
Finally, soothing German synthesists Tangerine Dream deliver a slice of Buddhist spirituality in the form of Seven Letters From Tibet, on their own Tangerine Dream International label.